Does the Quran Actually Deny the Crucifixion of Christ?

(AUTHOR NOTE: This article is not saying that Jesus definitely WAS crucified. It is simply exploring different interpretations of the crucifixion event mentioned in the Quran. Did it happen? Did it not happen? How have Muslim beliefs evolved on this matter over time? This article is NOT saying that Jesus died for our sins.)

The conventional belief of most Muslims is that Jesus Christ (The Prophet Isa) was not actually crucified. This is a big division in the beliefs of Muslims and Christians.

“They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared to them. (Qur’an 4:157)”

wa mā qatalūhu wa mā ṣalabūhu wa lākin shubbiha lahum

There are two main theories among the Muslim community about what happened. The “swoon theory” and “the substitution theory.” The swoon theory is that Jesus did not die on the cross, but only appeared to do so, or pretended to do so. And the substitution theory is that someone else took his place on the cross and was made to look like him.

However, Todd Lawson’s book, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought (read it online for free), raises questions about whether the Qur’an truly denies the historical crucifixion of Christ, or if that was a belief that evolved among the Muslim community later.

Todd Lawson’s book makes the point that Islamic beliefs are not a monolith, and there are different interpretations and beliefs on this matter that have existed and changed over time. So in this article I will examine some of the arguments made by Todd Lawson.

Todd Lawson is an Associate Professor at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. He is the author of Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought.


Does the Qur’an say that Jesus was not crucified? Or does it say that the Jews were not the ones that killed Him?

Verse 4:157 is the only verse in the Qur’an that even mentions the crucifixion of Christ. And it has largely been understood by Muslims to be a denial of the historical crucifixion of Jesus. Though the verse says, “they” did not kill him, and “they” did not crucify him—referring to the Jews. So is this actually saying that Jesus was not crucified? Or that the Jews were not the ones who crucified him?

Now who are these THEY in the above Qur’anic citation?
They are a group designated throughout the Qur’an by the Arabic
word yāhūd. This word is universally translated as JEWS. So, do we
see here an interesting case of the Qur’an absolving the Jews of a
crime long charged against them by Christians
? (Todd Lawson pg. 9)

Like all other things in the Qur’an, it is important to look at the verse in context. Many people (muslim and non-muslim) will simply pull verse 4:157 out of context and say that it is enough to deny the crucifixion. However, it is important to examine what the rest of the chapter was talking about. So what was it talking about?

The theme being pursued in this section of the Qur’an (and we will return to this below) is, it should be stressed and even repeated, not the life, suffering and death of Jesus. Rather the crucifixion is referred to here by the Qur’an in the course of speaking about a subject much more native to the Qur’anic worldview, namely the nature of “faithlessness”, in Arabic kufr (Todd Lawson pg. 9).

The Qur’an, in the verses leading up to the “crucifixion verse” says that an example of faithlessness may be found in the history of the Jews when they 1) “killed their prophets without justification”; 2) slandered Mary, the mother of Jesus, defaming her virtue, and 3) when they boasted that they had killed the Messiah. Note that their deeds are being singled out here as examples of kufr for boasting that they could controvert the Will
of God (Todd Lawson pg. 10).

So, considering that this verse is talking about the arrogance of the faithless, let us re-examine 4:157 with the verses leading up to it.

[Sorry some of this is in all caps, it’s just the format it Todd Lawson has it in his book]

AND SO, [WE PUNISHED THEM] FOR THE BREAKING OF THEIR PLEDGE, AND THEIR REFUSAL TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S MESSAGES, AND THEIR SLAYING OF PROPHETS AGAINST ALL RIGHT, AND THEIR BOAST, “OUR HEARTS ARE ALREADY FULL OF KNOWLEDGE”- NAY, BUT GOD HAS SEALED THEIR HEARTS IN RESULT OF THEIR DENIAL OF THE TRUTH, AND [NOW] THEY BELIEVE IN BUT FEW THINGS – ; AND FOR THEIR REFUSAL TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH, AND THE AWESOME CALUMNY WHICH THEY UTTER AGAINST MARY, AND THEIR BOAST, “BEHOLD, WE HAVE SLAIN THE CHRIST JESUS, SON OF MARY, [WHO CLAIMED TO BE] AN APOSTLE OF GOD!” HOWEVER, THEY DID NOT SLAY HIM, AND NEITHER DID THEY CRUCIFY HIM, BUT IT ONLY SEEMED TO THEM [AS IF IT HAD BEEN] SO; AND, VERILY, THOSE WHO HOLD CONFLICTING VIEWS THEREON ARE INDEED CONFUSED, HAVING NO [REAL] KNOWLEDGE THEREOF, AND FOLLOWING MERE CONJECTURE. FOR, OF A CERTAINTY, THEY DID NOT SLAY HIM: NAY, GOD EXALTED HIM UNTO HIMSELF – AND GOD IS INDEED ALMIGHTY, WISE. (Qur’an 4:155-158)

Now I’m not saying that this for sure proves that he WAS crucified. This still could mean that God saved Jesus from the crucifixion when he “exalted” Jesus “unto himself.” Or it could mean that the events described in the Gospels are mainly true, just that the Jews were not the ones that crucified Jesus, because like all things—it happened through God’s decree.

This verse could have different interpretations. But the mainstream interpretations of the Islamic community today of what happened and how it happened are not necessarily from the Qur’an alone, but could be from tafsīr, culture and even Jewish and Christian beliefs that existed in Saudi Arabia in the days the early scholars were making their interpretations of the text.


Jesus mentions being born, dying, and being resurrected in the Quran.

In Chapter 19, verses 29-33, we read about Jesus (peace be upon him ) as a baby: “Then she brought the child to her folk, carrying him, and they said, ‘Mary, you have surely committed a monstrous thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor your mother a woman unchaste.’ Mary pointed to the child; but they said, ‘How should we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?’ And he said, ‘Lo, I am God’s servant, God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. Blessed He has made me wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to prayer, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother. He has not made me arrogant and wicked. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day that I am raised up to live.’”

So there you have it above, Jesus is saying he died and then was raised up, meaning he could have died on the cross before he was raised up to God.


What is interesting, is that Todd Lawson claims one of the earliest authors to have charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion was a Christian, not a Muslim.

John of Damascus (676 -749 CE), the eighth-century father of the Syrian Church, was the earliest author, Muslim or otherwise, to have charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion. (Todd Lawson, pg. 25)

Why would the Muslims listen to a Christian?

John was, after all, a key official in the bureaucracy of the Umayyads. (Todd Lawson, pg. 28)

Why did John of Damascus make the claim the Qur’an denied the crucifixion of Christ?

It may have been necessary for this last great Church Father to point out the similarities between the creed of the “Hagarenes” and that of the oldest and in some ways most pernicious heresy of the Church, namely Docetism [an early belief of some Christians that Christ wasn’t actually crucified]. (Todd Lawson, pg. 27)

As was mentioned at the beginning of this book, the earliest writer to have
charged the Qur’an with a denial of the crucifixion was a Christian—
John of Damascus. This fact, along with the disposition among certain non-Muslim scholars to view Islam and its revelation as a bastardized form of a previous religion has moved some to posit a Conclusion Docetic (Christian) precedent for 4:157-8.1
(Todd Lawson, 218-219)

What is even more incredible is that John of Damascus clearly did not like Islam. You can read what he says about Islam himself.

[John of Damascus, De haeresibus C/CI, 60-61 (pp. 485-486):]

There is also the people-deceiving cult (threskeia) of the Ishmaelites, the forerunner of the Antichrist, which prevails until now. It derives from Ishmael, who was born to Abraham from Hagar, wherefore they are called Hagarenes and Ishmaelites. And they call them Saracens, inasmuch as they were [sent away] empty-handed by Sarah (ek tes Sarras kenous); for it was said to the angel by Hagar: “Sarah has sent me away empty-handed” (cf. Genesis xxi. 10, 14).

These, then, were idolators and worshippers of the morning star and Aphrodite whom in fact they called Chabar in their own language, which means “great.” So until the times of Heraclius they were plain idolators. From that time till now a false prophet appeared among them, surnamed Muhammad (Mamed), who, having happened upon the Old and the New Testament and apparently having conversed, in like manner, with an Arian monk, put together his own heresy. And after ingratiating himself with the people by a pretence of piety, he spread rumours of a scripture (graphe) brought down to him from heaven. So, having drafted some ludicrous doctrines in his book, he handed over to them this form of worship (to sebas).

[John of Damascus, De haeresibus, C/CI, 63-64 (pp. 486-487):]

They call us associators (hetairiastas) because, they say, we introduce to God an associate by saying Christ is the Son of God and God. To them we say that the prophets and the scripture have transmitted this, and you, as you affirm, accept the prophets. . . . Again we say to them: “How, when you say that Christ is the Word and Spirit of God, do you revile us as associators? For the Word and the Spirit are inseparable. . . . So we call you mutilators (koptas) of God.”

They misrepresent us as idolaters because we prostrate ourselves before the cross, which they loathe. And we say to them: “How then do you rub yourselves on a stone at your Ka’ba (Chabatha) and hail the stone with fond kisses?” . . . This, then, which they call “stone,” is the head of Aphrodite, whom they used to worship and whom they call Chabar.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 64-67 (p. 487):]

This Muhammad, as it has been mentioned, compoased many frivolous tales, to each of which he assigned a name, like the text (graphe) of the Woman, in which he clearly prescribes the taking of four wives and one thousand concubines, as if it is possible (story of Zayd is told; cf. Qur’an xxxiii.37). . . . Another is the text of the Camel of God, about which he says that there was a camel from God (story of Salih’s camel; cf. Qur’an xci. 11-14, vii. 77). . . . You say that in paradise you will have three rivers fowing with water, wine and milk (cf. Qur’an ii. 25, xviii. 31, xxii. 23). . . . Again, Muhammad mentions the text of the Table. He says that Christ requested from God a table and it was given to him, for God, he says, told him: “I have given to you and those with you an incorruptible table.” Again, he mentions the text of the Cow and several other foolish and ludicrous things which, because of their number, I think I should pass over.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 67 (p. 487):]

He prescribed that they be circumcised, women as well, and he commanded neither to observe the sabbath nor to be baptised, to eat those things forbidden in the Law and to abstain from the others. Drinking of wine he forbade absolutely.

[John of Damascus, De haerisibus, C/CI, 61 (pp. 488-489):]

He says Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit (cf. Qur’an iv. 171), created (iii. 59) and a servant (iv. 172, xix. 30, xliii. 59), and that he was born from Mary (iii. 45, and cf. ‘Isa ibn Maryam), the sister of Moses and Aaron (xix. 28), without seed (iii. 47, xix. 20, xxi. 91, lxvi. 12). For, he says, the Word of God and the Spirit entered Mary (xix. 17, xxi. 91, lxvi. 12), and she gave birth to Jesus, a prophet (ix. 30, xxxiii. 7) and a servant of God. And [he says] that the Jews, acting unlawfully, wanted to crucify him, but, on seizing [him], they crucified [only] his shadow; Christ himself was not crucified, he says, nor did he die (iv. 157). For God took him up to heaven to Himself . . . and God questioned him saying: “Jesus, did you say that ‘I am son of God and God?'” And he says, Jesus answered, “Mercy me, Lord, you know that I did not say so (v. 116). . . .”

So the first person to write of the Muslims denying the crucifixion of Christ was a Christian man who clearly did not like Islam and saw it as a bastardization of Christianity. There are many Christian writers who preceded him with their own accounts of Islam. And while they too had criticisms, none brought up the idea that Islam denied the crucifixion of Christ. 

This idea that Jesus wasn’t actually crucified may have started out as a Christian heresy rather than a Muslim belief. In the very early days of Christianity (1st and 2nd century AD), there were many different beliefs within the Christian community about the crucifixion, what happened and how it happened. There were Christians who did not want to believe it happened to Jesus because crucifixion was a very humiliating way to die. And it is out of that that Docetism was created.

What is Docetism?

Docetism is a word that comes from a Greek verb dokeō “to seem” or noun dokesis “appearance”. It is used by the Fathers of the Church to describe a view that held that Jesus did not suffer on the cross, but only appeared to do so. (Todd Lawson, pg. 3)

An apocryphal gospel, The Acts of John, offers the following docetic account of the crucifixion:

After the Lord had so danced with us, my beloved, he went
out. And we were like men amazed or fast asleep, and we
fled this way and that. And so I saw him suffer, and did not
wait by his suffering, but fled to the Mount of Olives and
wept at what had come to pass. And when he was hung
(upon the Cross) on Friday, at the sixth hour of the day
there came a darkness over the whole earth. And my Lord
stood in the middle of the cave and gave light to it and said,
“John, for the people below in Jerusalem I am being
crucified and pierced with lances and reeds and given
vinegar and gall to drink. But to you, I am speaking, and listen to what I speak.”
(Todd Lawson, pg. 3)

This sounds much like the Islamic swoon theory that exists today. What about the substitution theory?


Examining the Tafsīr, Potential Source of the Substitution Theory

Tafsīr is the Arabic word for “exegesis” (which means a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, usually scripture). So the tafsīr is what we think of Islam and the Quran based on the interpretations and studies of people who existed after Mohammad.

Todd Lawson goes into a deep analysis of the tafsīr on the crucifixion of Christ, and how over time the substitution theory evolved. I will not mention everything Todd Lawson mentioned on this subject, because then I would have to write about a hundred pages of information, and for that, you should just go read his book. But I will cover his key points here.

Ibn ‘Abbās – “Father of Qu’ran Commentary”

Todd Lawson first examines the tafsīr of Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abbās, who is simply known as ”Ibn ‘Abbās” (619-687). Many people believe that his accounts are trustworthy because he was a close companion and cousin of the prophet.

This quasi-legendary figure is esteemed, especially by the Sunnī exegetical tradition, to be the “father of Qur’an commentary” and is known to that by the honorifics “The doctor” (al-hibr) and “the Ocean [of knowldege]” (al-bahr). (Todd Lawson, pg. 65)

However, are these accounts trustworthy?

Thousands of exegetical traditions are ascribed to him by both Sunni and Shi‘i authors. The Tanwīr al-miqbās is a short tafsīr ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbās, and like works attributed to other early figures in Islamic history, carries many questions of authenticity. Indeed, the current debate on whether or not it is accurate to speak of tafsīr as an early activity casts a certain amount of perplexity over any discussion of the subject. For
several reasons, the traditions associated with Ibn ‘Abbās are generally thought to be untrustworthy, at least as far as the ascription is concerned.
(Todd Lawson, pg. 66)

One issue that must be dealt with by anyone undertaking a specific study of this question is why so little of the material concerning specific passages of the Qur’an attributed to this man by later writers of tafsīr is not to be found, or is found in different form, in his own [i.e. the work at hand] tafsīr . . . one hopes that in the near future we may be able to discuss these questions armed with fewer opinions and more facts. (Todd Lawson, pg. 67)

So to study of the accounts of Ibn ‘Abbās is more like studying the accounts of later people (a hundred years or several hundred years later) who attributed their own theories and musings to Ibn ‘Abbās.

Here is a passage that al-Dīnawārī (9th century author) ascribed to Muḥammad al-Kalbī (late 8th century author) ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbās (7th century author) [You can see what a game of telephone all this is].

BECAUSE OF THEIR SAYING: because of their statement
WE KILLED THE MESSIAH, JESUS SON OF MARY, THE
MESSENGER OF GOD, God destroyed one of their [the
Jews’] friends, Naṭyānūs BUT THEY KILLED HIM NOT, NOR
DID THEY CRUCIFY HIM, BUT SO IT WAS MADE TO APPEAR TO
THEM, the likeness [shibh/shabah] of Jesus was
cast upon Naṭyānūs, so they killed him instead of
Jesus AND THOSE WHO DIFFER THEREIN about his killing
ARE FULL OF DOUBTS about his killing THEY HAVE
NOTHING CONCERNING IT concerning his killing OF
KNOWLEDGE, ONLY CONJECTURE and not even conjecture
AND THEY DID NOT KILL HIM IN CERTAINTY i.e. certainly
they did not kill him RATHER, GOD RAISED HIM TO
HIMSELF to heaven AND GOD IS EXALTED IN POWER in
revenging His enemies WISE with support for His
intimate friends [awliyā’] and His prophet, and He
destroyed their friend Naṭyānūs. (Todd Lawson, pg. 68)

So the verse above gives us the essence of the substitution theory, and where it might have started.

The contemporaries of Muḥammad al-Kalbī all disagree on the identity of who this victim was, that was put on the cross in the stead of Jesus. And Todd Lawson goes on to say that there is no reliable hadith that supports this substitution theory. (Todd Lawson pg. 71)

Wahb ibn Munabbih

The most popular versions of the substitution theory come from Wahb, who was an 8th-century Yemeni scholar. However, his knowledge has been anathematized as “Isrā’īliyyāt”, that is, “faulty knowledge foreign to Islam.” (Todd Lawson pg. 75-76). So it is ironic that the most influential traditions supporting the substitution theory come from a source that was considered faulty. Wahb acquired a reputation that varied from trustworthy to “audacious liar.”


The Substitution Theory is Qur’anically Incorrect

There is a large, glaring reason why the substitution theory cannot be correct. That reason comes from the Qur’an itself. No soul can bear the burden of another.

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. (35:18)

So if no soul can bear the burden of another, why would someone be forced to die for another? This is so fundamentally against the teachings of the Qur’an that there is no way it can be correct. Such a theory is anti-Qur’an.


The Qur’anic Concept of Death

Is it possible that Jesus could have died on the cross, even though he was brought up to the Lord? Let us examine the Qur’anic concepts of death.

THINK NOT OF THOSE WHO ARE SLAININ GOD’S WAY AS DEAD NAY, THEY LIVE, FINDING THEIR SUSTENANCE IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR LORD (3:169)

THOSE WHO FLED THEIR HOMES FOR THE CAUSE OF GOD AND THEN WERE SLAIN (QUTILŪ) OR DIED (MĀTŪ), GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM A GOOD PROVISION. (22:58)

O YE WHO ARE JEWS! IF YE CLAIM THAT YE ARE FAVOURED OF GOD APART FROM [ALL] MANKIND, THEN LONG FOR DEATH (AL-MAWT) IF YE ARE TRUTHFUL. (62:6)

[PHAROAH] SAID: [TO HIS MAGICIANS] . . . “I WILL CUT OFF YOUR HANDS AND YOUR FEET ALTERNATELY, AND VERILY I WILL CRUCIFY YOU EVERY ONE.” THEY SAID: “IT IS NO HURT, FOR LO! UNTO OUR LORD WE SHALL RETURN.” (26:49-50)

AND CALL NOT THOSE WHO ARE SLAIN (YUQTALU) IN THE WAY OF GOD “DEAD” (AMWĀT). NAY THEY ARE LIVING, ONLY YE PERCEIVE NOT. (2:154, similar to 3:169)

AND THEY [the Jāhilī ‘Arabs] SAY: THERE IS NAUGHT BUT OUR LIFE IN THIS WORLD; WE DIE AND WE LIVE, AND NAUGHT DESTROYETH US SAVE TIME (DAHR); WHEN THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER OF [ALL] THAT; THEY DO BUT GUESS (YAẒUNNŪNA). AND WHEN OUR CLEAR REVELATIONS ARE RECITED UNTO THEM THEIR ONLY ARGUMENT IS THAT THEY SAY: BRING [BACK] OUR FATHERS THEN, IF YE ARE TRUTHFUL. SAY [UNTO THEM, O MUḤAMMAD]: GOD GIVETH LIFE TO YOU,
THEN CAUSETH YOU TO DIE, THEN GATHERETH YOU UNTO THE DAY OF RESURRECTION WHEREOF THERE IS NO DOUBT. BUT MOST OF MANKIND KNOW NOT (LA YA‘LAMŪNA). (45:24-26)

NO SOUL CAN EVER DIE EXCEPT BY GOD’S LEAVE AND AT A TERM APPOINTED. WHOSO DESIRETH THE REWARD OF THE WORLD, WE BESTOW ON HIM THEREOF; AND WHOSO DESIRETH THE REWARD OF THE HEREAFTER, WE BESTOW ON HIM
THEREOF. WE SHALL REWARD THE THANKFUL. (3:145)

So the Qur’an is quite clear that people will be resurrected after they die, and either sent to Heaven or Hell. This is a point the Qur’an makes a lot, in much detail. So if an average human being will be resurrected, why not a Prophet of God? Is it possible that the account in the Gospels of Christ dying and then being resurrected onto God is still true? Perhaps.


Jesus Quote on the Soul

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mathew 10:28)

Okay, so the above quote is from the Gospels and not the Qur’an. But the Qur’an does say it was brought to fulfill the Gospels. And that there is truth and light in the Gospels.

“And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you.” (Surah 2:41)

“Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians – Any who believe in Allah And the Last Day, and work righteousness, Shall have their reward.” (Surah 2:62)

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it. In safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. (Surah 5:48)

And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those [earlier prophets], confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah; and We vouchsafed unto him the Gospel, wherein there was guidance and light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God-conscious. (5:46)

The above quote from the Gospels reasserts the Qur’anic quotes on death, that one who dies in the way of the Lord doesn’t truly die.


Looking to the Qur’an, rather than the Tafsīr, to form theories about what happened regarding the crucifixion of Jesus

I’ve stated the common beliefs in the muslim community about the crucifixion, which have evolved from tafsīr. Below I will look more at the Qur’an itself.

As I mentioned above, the Qur’an did not come to wipe away everything that existed before. Islam is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic faiths (and really all faiths). Not a new religion. The Qur’an came to clarify errors and corruptions that were invented by human beings as lies against God. So I think most of what the Gospels detail about the events of the crucifixion are probably correct, just as the accounts for many other Qur’anic stories, like the suffering of Job, and Moses’s interaction with Pharoah, and the trials of Yusef mainly follow the biblical accounts with a few exceptions.

But the Qur’an does clear up misconceptions invented by Christians.

The Qur’an says that Jesus and his mother Mary are not Gods.

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. (5:116)

The Qur’an says that Jesus did not die for our sins. For no soul can bear the burden of another. I already posted the verse above but will post it again because it bears repeating.

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. (35:18)

We, individually, are responsible for our own actions and our own sins. This life is a test. A test Allah devised for us to see what kind of people we are. So what kind of test would this be if some superstar could just pass it for us? That seems lazy.

So what does the Qur’an say about the crucifixion?

As I mentioned above, since the Qur’an does not discuss the crucifixion that heavily (mentioning it once, and briefly, it is up for interpretation).

Perhaps there is some truth to the swoon theory, and Jesus’s body was left behind to suffer while his soul elevated to God. (But I don’t think there is any truth to the substitution theory, for the reasons I mentioned above.)

Or perhaps Jesus did suffer but overcame that suffering through his dedication to the Lord.

Perhaps his crucifixion is a symbol of what God expects of us. That we must endure and overcome the suffering of life through complete submission to God and God alone, before achieving ascension into Heaven.

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (2:155)

So, we are supposed to suffer. Because this life is a test.

Below is support for the fact that Jesus is a symbol.

And We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol, and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs. (23:50)

A symbol of what? We are supposed to read the Qur’an and use our brains and figure that out.

A Theme of Self Sacrifice

The Qur’an repeats itself. And its themes repeat themselves. It is a cyclical, rather than linear text. In the same way that Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son (as a test of his loyalty), perhaps Jesus was asked to sacrifice himself as a similar test. Whether he suffered or not during that sacrifice is not as important as the fact that he was willing to do it, with complete faith and loyalty to his Lord.

Perhaps sacrificing the self is the ultimate way to achieve salvation. And perhaps that is why Jesus is a symbol for all mankind. Because to sacrifice the self is to kill the ego. And the Qur’an describes arrogance as the initial sin of Satan. So if Satan is farthest from God, because he resides in the depths of Hell (for arrogance). Perhaps Jesus is nearest God, because he personifies the opposite of arrogance and ego, which is self-sacrifice and humility.

Recall that Moses said to his people, “O my people, you have wronged your souls by worshiping the calf. You must repent to your Creator. You shall kill your egos. This is better for you in the sight of your Creator.” He did redeem you. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful. (2:54)

(Jesus serving his Lord)

I will leave you with Todd Lawson’s words below on what he believes Mohammad’s purpose was.

So far from professing to bring a new revelation
Mohammed insisted that the Scripture given him was
but a restatement of the faith delivered to the
Prophets confirming their scriptures and itself
confirmed by them. Yet the originality of Islam is
nonetheless real, in that it represents a further step
in the logical (if not philosophical) evolution of the
monotheistic religion. Its monotheism, like that of
the Hebrew Prophets, is absolute and unconditioned,
but with this it combines the universalism of
Christianity. On the one hand, it rejects the
nationalist taint from which Judaism as a religion did
not succeed in freeing itself; for Islam never
identified itself with the Arabs, although at times
Arabs have identified themselves with it. On the
other hand, it is distinguished from Christianity, not
so much (in spite of all outward appearances) by its repudiation of the trinitarian concept of the unity of
God, as by its rejection of the soteriology of
the Christian doctrine and the relics of the old
nature cults which survived in the rites and practices
of the Christian Church. (Todd Lawson pg. 31)

Related Links

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